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Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment starts Nov. 1, 2016

Get help finding affordable health care coverage, and avoid the tax penalty in 2017

YPSILANTI, Mich., Oct. 27, 2016 – The Health Insurance Marketplace will open for its fourth round of enrollment on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Although the national uninsured rate has dropped to a historic low of 10 percent, there are still thousands of uninsured Washtenaw County residents eligible for financial assistance in obtaining health insurance. The Washtenaw Health Plan urges residents to get covered, stay covered, and avoid the 2017 tax penalty before the Marketplace closes on Jan 31, 2017.

“We have done a good job getting the uninsured rate down in Washtenaw County, but there are still many people who need coverage,” says Krista Nordberg, director of enrollment and advocacy for the Washtenaw Health Plan.  “We want to keep working to help people find affordable health coverage and avoid the tax penalty in 2017.”

Washtenaw County Public Health’s 2015 Health Improvement Plan (HIP) Survey shows that about eight percent, or over 26,000 Washtenaw County residents, have no health insurance. The percentage of uninsured residents is even higher for young adults between the ages of 18 and 34. For lower income Washtenaw County residents, there are still about 7,000 people eligible for Medicaid and about 3,500 eligible for subsidies on the Marketplace.

The tax penalty for being uninsured in 2017 is about $700 per person, or two and a half percent of your yearly income, whichever is higher. Fines for families are even greater.

Get Covered. Stay Covered.

Open Enrollment is the time to get covered if you are still without insurance. But it’s also the time to stay covered if you already have coverage through the Marketplace.

If you are already insured through the Marketplace, it is important to update your information and make sure your current plan is still the best one for you, your family and your budget. Visit your Marketplace account at HealthCare.gov, call 1-800-318-2569 or get help locally at healthcarecounts.org.  Do not be scared away by news of insurance premium increases. Tax subsidies and/or the addition of new plans will keep coverage affordable for many.

If you do not currently have coverage, don’t miss another enrollment period – talk to someone about affordable health insurance options by visiting healthcarecounts.org, or calling 734-544-3030. The cost of health insurance may be less than the tax penalty for being uninsured. All marketplace plans cover regular doctor visits, hospital stays, preventative care, many prescriptions and more.

Local Help with Health Insurance

The Washtenaw Health Plan, Washtenaw Health Initiative and other community organizations are working together to assist uninsured individuals and families with insurance coverage. Call any of the Washtenaw County organizations listed below for help.

          Washtenaw Health Plan    Aid in Milan    Corner Health Center     Faith in Action    Packard Health
                  734-544-3030             734-439-8420         734-484-3600             734-475-3305      734-971-1073      
Manchester Community    Regional Alliance for       Saline Area          St. Joseph Mercy    University of Michigan
      Resource Center                Healthy Schools         Social Services        Health Systems           Health Systems
        734-428-7722                    734-998-5795            734-429-4570           855-753-4726              877-326-9155

Community groups, organizations and businesses can also help spread the word about Open Enrollment. For more information, contact Krista Nordberg at nordbergk@ewashtenaw.org or 734-544-6778. For free materials and presentations on enrolling in health insurance, or on the Affordable Care Act, contact Megan Foster Friedman, Healthcare Analyst at the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, at mfosterf@umich.edu.

Washtenaw Health Plan

The Washtenaw Health Plan works directly with people to assess their eligibility for health coverage and to secure coverage. Visit healthcarecounts.org or call 734-544-3030. Walk in for help Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. Spanish-speaking and Arabic-speaking staff members available. WHP is located the Washtenaw County Human Services building at 555 Towner Street, Ypsilanti.

Washtenaw Health Initiative

The Washtenaw Health Initiative is a voluntary, countywide collaboration focused on how to improve access to coordinated care for the low-income, uninsured and Medicaid populations. The effort includes representatives from the University of Michigan Health System, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, health plans, county government, community services, physicians and safety net providers. More than 80 organizations and 180 individuals participate. Visit http://washtenawhealthinitiative.org/ or call 734-998-7567.

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